City starts new program

Published 3:04 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Today, Picayune residents can begin to pose questions to Interim City Manager Jim Luke, and those questions might be featured in a monthly newsletter.

City Projects Manager Tommy Dyle said the program will begin on March 1, and will be called “Ask the City Manager.”

Dyle said he and Luke are seeking public input for the program and questions that pertain to city wide issues will be included in a monthly newsletter.

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“Not everybody’s question will get in the newsletter. We’re looking for the most topical stuff that will affect a large part of the population,” Dyle said.

While questions that pertain to the most residents will be featured in the newsletter, Dyle said he will do his very best to answer each and every question with the best information available to him at the time. If, for some reason, Dyle does not know the answer, he said he will ask city personnel until he finds the answer. If the question pertains to the need for some sort of work or repair, Dyle said he will send that information on to the appropriate department.

Council member Larry Watkins said the program will benefit not only the city residents, but will benefit the council as well.

“I’m just another person out there that wants to know what’s going on too,” Watkins said. “I’m a taxpayer just like everyone else, I want my tax money spent wisely.”

Mayor Ed Pinero Jr. said the program will be a great way to keep residents informed and allow them to ask questions about concerns or issues.

“Instead of rumors, they can get facts about what’s going around the city,” Pinero said.

Questions can be posed by visiting and filling out the form on the web page. Residents without Internet access can pose a question by bringing  a written copy of their question to city hall’s front desk.

Luke said this program is part of his initiative approach to provide better service to the citizens. That includes offering city services five days a week for paying utility bills, getting reports, paying fines or talking to a city official.

“I made sure that all services were open five days a week inclusive of city hall,” Luke said.

An upcoming program will be called “One Call City Hall.” Luke said the program will provide residents with a way to submit complaints or concerns by calling one central number. Once the concern has been addressed to city hall, it will be forwarded to the proper department and the resident will be provided with a tracking number so the status of the issue can be tracked. Luke said he hopes that program will be begin by April 1.

“It all boils down to customer service,” Dyle said. “We’re going to start to improve our customer service,” Dyle said.

Dyle said while the city is a not for profit business, it essentially is a business and will be run as such.